Teachers With Student Debt: These Are Their Stories

Elissa Nadworny:

Teachers have one of the lowest-paid professional jobs in the U.S. You need a bachelor’s degree, which can be costly — an equation that often means a lot of student loans. We’ve reported on the factors that make this particular job even more vulnerable to a ton of debt, including chronically low teacher pay, the increasing pressure to get a master’s degree and the many ways to repay loans or apply for loan forgiveness.

More than 2,000 teachers responded to our first survey about the issue, and we’re following up to hear a few of their stories:

Lauren Peńa is a 10th-grade English teacher in Oklahoma City with 10 years of experience. She’s married and lives with her husband, stepson and 10-month-old daughter. She makes $43,000 a year.

After starting off with $30,000 in loans, she has $6,000 left to pay off. She took out a 15-year loan, but she’s hoping to pay it off next year, 12 years after she took it out.

Some of her loans were forgiven because she worked in a Title I school and taught Spanish, a designated “high-need” subject.